May 23, 2003

One Hour Photo

poster Robin Williams plays Sy Parrish, a photo processing technician at the one hour photo counter in a discount department store. We find out pretty quickly that Sy takes a personal interest in his customers.

In one case, Sy's interest is a little too personal. He is secretly obsessed by the Yorkin family, Nina (Connie Nielsen), Will (Michael Vartan), and young son Jake (Dylan Smith). When Sy processes their pictures he makes an extra set for himself.

The movie starts with Sy being admitted into police custody, and we are made to know that something untoward has happened, but not what. The rest of the movie is in flashback with a return to the interrogation at the end.

Williams is extremely creepy as the photo guy. The Yorkins are lovely to look at and play their parts well. The film has a stark over-clean look to it that heightens the tension. The photography details are convincing. The story mostly manages to steer clear of the stalker cliches.

I wanted to like the movie (as much as you can like a movie like this), but some plot details half-way through strained my credulity to the breaking point and made me question the reality of what was happening enough that for the rest of the film I kept waiting for the revelation that it was all a dream (as happens after a brief passage earlier in the film). I won't say what the details were (unless someone asks in the comments ;-). They're small things really, but they're so wrong that I was blown right out of the film.

The DVD has a Charlie Rose interview, and a Sundance "Anatomy of a Scene" segment neither of which we watched. The obligatory making-of featurette was worth watching for the behind-the-scenes shots of Robin Williams being his usual cut-up not-Sy self. There's also a commentary track with Williams and writer/director Romanek that has a few interesting details and some amusing bits from Williams, but was mostly pretty dull.

One other thing that was weird that had nothing to do with the movie was that I kept being reminded of my dad when I saw shots of Williams as Sy. Purely appearance; Dad isn't a psycho stalker as far as I know ;-).

Verdict: 2-1/2 stars (out of 4)

Posted by jeffy at May 23, 2003 11:35 PM
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